A proposed solution to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in America has failed.

The NFL’s attempt to halt players protesting during the national anthem seems to have failed as players continue to raise their fists, kneel, or remain sitting while The Star-Spangled Banner played. Players have been protesting for over a year to bring attention to police brutality against African-Americans and the structural oppression of black minorities.

However, the protests have been met with condemnation from many football fans who see the act as unpatriotic. League head honchos have been scrambling to find ways to stop the protests as they believe it to be linked to falling viewership numbers.

Kneeling

via sportsnet.ca

Their solution was essentially a bribe. The League would contribute over $89 million to charities aimed at African-American causes and criminal justice reform, and in return, the players would cease their protests. There would also be an undisclosed amount given to the Players Coalition to be given to whatever organizations the Coalition deemed fit.

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It seems the bribe failed as players continued to protest during last week’s games. The Giant’s Olivier Vernon knelt during last night’s game against the Oakland Raiders, while Marshawn Lynch remained seated on the opposite bench. Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks remained seated during the anthem along with most of the team’s defensive line. Their opponents, the Philadelphia Eagles, did not protest believing the NFL’s deal to still be in force.

Russel Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers stood during Sunday’s game against the Browns but raised his fist in a provocative gesture harkening back to the Black Power movement of the 1960s. Okung has been a vocal proponent of the racially charged protests, having previously penned an open letter to other NFL players on The Players’ Tribune (the football league’s player newspaper) to coordinate protests during games and speak to the league with “one voice” on the issue.

NFL executives, a group of predominantly white men, are now heading back to the drawing board, completely stumped on how they can mollify their protesting players.

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